HCMC canal tour halted pending license, likely to resume next week

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People take a boat tour of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal in early September 2015. Photo: Pham Huu People take a boat tour of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal in early September 2015. Photo: Pham Huu

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People interested in row boat tours of downtown Ho Chi Minh City may have to wait until next week since the operator has suspended the service to obtain the license.
Phan Xuan Anh, chairman of the Saigon Boat Company, said the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal tour was stopped on September 13, just 10 days after it began.
The transport department had given a special permit to operate the tour during the International Travel Expo held in the city from September 10 to 12, he said.
Subsequently, it has had to suspend it pending obtention of the license.
Anh said the department has promised to scrutinize the application on October 2.
“We hope to resume the tour next week,” Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon newspaper quoted him as saying Wednesday.
The tour covers 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) from Thi Nghe Bridge near the Saigon Zoo in District 1 to Le Van Sy Bridge near Nguyen Van Troi Market in District 3.
The 90-minute tour takes tourists on wooden boats under nine bridges, each with a history that is closely linked to the birth and development of the city.
Tickets cost VND220,000 (US$10) per person on row boats with six passengers, and VND110,000 on cruise boats with a capacity of 20.
The company operates 10 small boats and two large ones.
Tourists can only start the tour at Thi Nghe Bridge now, but Anh said his company would add 10 boats at the Le Van Sy end.
He has invested VND10 billion ($440,000) in the operation, which would break even if there are around 200 customers a day, he said.
“With the current bookings and positive response, we hope the goal is achievable.”
His company has installed funnels along the canal to facilitate garbage collection.
The eight-kilometer canal used to be badly polluted but has received a facelift under a 20-year project funded by the World Bank.
But many people still dump trash in it.

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